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Formalism/New Criticism/Post-Structuralism

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Chase Gardner

on 24 January 2013

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Transcript of Formalism/New Criticism/Post-Structuralism

photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli Formalism, New Criticism, and Post-Structuralism for Dummies Important People Viktor Shklovsky was the primary leader of the Russian Formalism movement and introduced concepts such as "defamiliarization" and "plot/story distinction". Defamiliarization is the idea of presenting the world differently than how people are used to seeing it, and plot/story distinction stresses the seperation of the order of events in the actual story from the order that they are told in the plot.

Roman Jakobson was a Russian born American linguist, and was co-founder of The Prague School. The Prague School was a school of linguistic thought and analysis and founded in the 1920s. They are known for establishing the distinctive-feature analysis of sounds, which was a system of dissecting distinctive sounds in languages, and proving that a contrast existed even between words that sounded fairly similar. New Criticism 1.Describe what you see in the text
2. Examine the literary elements, such as metaphors, similes, hyperboles, etc.
3. Find the meaning behind the text or lit. elements. What is the mood or feeling being conveyed?
4. What aesthetic classification does the text illustrate?

Note 1: No two readers will be alike. Each individual that reads the piece of literature will bring their own meaning and interpretation of the meanings of themes, words, and symbols.
Note 2. Words derive meanings from other words. Words are open to many different analysis or interpretation because of their lack of specificity and can never fully embody the ideas they mean to disclose. 5. Pick out the main themes in the piece.
6. Find specific places in the text where these themes are being represented.
7. Highlight suspect ideologies and metaphorically pointing out the absence of any definitive meaning. What is it? focuses on the structural purposes of a text
limits the emphasis on historical and cultural background
chooses to ignore the background because it tries to look directly at the text itself
picks apart literary devices and analyzes to find meaning Where did it Come From? Formalism became popular in the early twentieth century as a response to Romanticism. This was because romanticists tended to center their emphasis on the artist, and Formalists worked to bring the emphasis back to the art and its components. Two types of Formalist literary criticism arose from the movement, the first being Russian Formalism, and the second Anglo-Saxon Formalism. Formalism New Criticism is a literary theory that emphasizes close reading, especially of poetry. They also believed that the text was autoletic, which means that New Critics believe that a piece of literature is something complete within itself, and not dependent on the history or background of its author Where did it come from? New Criticism developed in the early 1920-30s, but was at its most popular between 1940-50. The movement was named after John Crowe Ransom's 1941 collection of essays titled The New Criticism. The movement began partially as a response to Biographical Criticism. New Criticism was especially popular during the Cold War years in both American High Schools and colleges, because it offered a relatively straight forward approach to teaching students how to read and understand poetry and fiction. In his essay "Criticism, Inc." he stated that criticism needed to become more systematic, and that things like personal responses to literature and hitorical background should not influence criticism. His students Allen Tate, Cleanth Brooks, and Robert Penn Warren also influenced the movement. Allen Tate He advocated that writers needed a tradition to adhere to, and wrote primarily about southern culture. He was part of the Southern Agrarians, and best known for his poem "Ode to the Confederate Dead". Tate introduced the "Southern Agrarians" to T.S. Elliot's poetry. T.S. Elliot Ex. In Oscar Wilde’s novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, a major theme in this novel is the effect of time. The novel’s title character has found a way to escape death, so his friends age while his body remains perfectly untouched. Time is a theoretical concept that no longer applies to Dorian Gray, for his portrait has made him ageless. For other characters “time” derives meaning from “age,” but to Dorain, the word seems to lack meaning. To him, seconds, hours and minutes are inconsequential. Years are but a daydream. A decade is only a word to Dorian Gray. 8. Identify complexities such as paradoxes, tensions, ironies, and ambiguities
9. Find a theme unifying the work and use details to connect to this theme. T.S. Elliot was a poet, publisher, and playwright. He is most known for his poem "The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock", and his poem "The Waste Land" was very influential to New Criticism because it allowed him to emphasize his point that an author should write to advance his own interests and not just those of the time period. Ex. Archibald MacLeish's poem "Ars Poetica" - New Criticism
The first example of this is in the title itself. “Ars Poetica” is Latin for “the art of poetry,” and MacLeish’s connotation of the words is based on the literary device that defines poetry through poetry, in which authors attempt to explain what poetry is through the poem itself. By MacLeish using this title, the reader is immediately instructed on the theme of the poem: the duties and requirements of poetry. The reader is almost directly exposed to its meaning.
In the first eight lines, the poem uses the words “mute,” “dumb,” “silent,” and “wordless” to describe what a poem should be. When looking up the definition of these words, each one is indicated as synonymous with the others. In four separate lines tacked with four different metaphors, the poem emphasizes that poetry should lack the power of speech. A poem should not speak openly, but should allow a reader to view it blindly, without prejudices, “As old medallions to the thumb”. The use of the word “palpable” in the first line also further emphasizes this point. In context, the word choice suggests that poetry should be obvious and transparent, without profound, hidden meanings and agendas.
The last eight lines of the poem reiterate the theme, while drawing the poem to its resolution. By saying “A poem should be equal to: / Not true.” and “A poem should not mean / But be.” the piece elaborates the first eight lines. It asserts that poetry should be more direct than philosophical and that the meanings should be easily recovered through a close examination of the text itself. This is what helps one find the theme. Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Post-Structuralism What is it? Concerns itslef with ways and places where, systems, frameworks, definitions, and certanties break down.
Maintains the frameworks and systems
Holds there are many truths that frameworks stress and structures become unstable ot decentered.
Asserts that if we can't trust language systems to convey truth, then the bases of truth are unreliable and the universe becomes unraveled.
Instability in human sciences Where did it come from? Important People Jacques Derrida Ronald Barthes What is it? Post-structuralism emerged in France in the 1960's and is an extension and critique of structuralism. The two key figures that started post-structuralism were Ronald Barthes and Jacques Derrida. In 1968 Barthes released The Death of the Author which was meant to be "The Birth of the Reader". The ideas presented in his essay somewhat correlate to the idea of New Criticism. Born July 15, 1930. Died October 8, 2004 from cancer in the pancreas. He was a French philosopher and was a founder of what is called "deconstruction." His work was labeled as post-structuralism. Works include "Of Grammatology," "Writing and Difference," "Speech and Phenomena," "Dissemination," "Glas," "The Postcard," "Spectres of Marx," "The Gift of Death," and "Politics of Friendship." Checklist THE END By: Alex White, Bailey Swainston, Emma Cranston, Katie Brooks, Chase Gardner, & Fabiola Villegas Born 1915 and died 1980. Barthes was also a French philosopher, literary theorist, and linguist. He started writing essays during the 1950s, influenced by Derrida he later switched to the ideas of Post-Structuralism. He advocated that writers needed a tradition to adhere to and wrote primarily about southern culture. He was part of the Southern Agrarians, and best known for his poem "Ode to the Confederate Dead". Tate Introduced the Southern Agrarians to T.S. Elliot's poetry Table of Contents Chapter 1: What is formalism, new criticism, and post structuralism?
Where did formalism, new criticism, and post structuralism originate?
Important people Chapter 2: Steps on how to apply it to literature
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